STAFF MATTERS: Salary pool FAQs answered

In this column, the Office of Human Resources addresses pay increases and the annual University budget. The following questions are among the most asked by University faculty and staff. This column was created in partnership with Staff Council.

Who is eligible to receive an annual salary increase?

Full-time and part-time staff, full-time regular faculty and research associates, part-time tenure, tenure stream and non-tenure stream faculty may be eligible for annual salary increases. Those excluded from eligibility include union and temporary employees and single-term appointments. Details about eligibility are outlined in the Annual Salary Increase Guide.

How will faculty and staff be notified of potential salary increases?

Communications are typically sent to faculty and staff employees in September. Faculty and staff employees should receive communication from their responsibility center administration detailing salary increases. The communication should explain the consideration and basis for an increase, which are dependent upon satisfactory/successful (and better) performance over the past year. Additionally, responsibility centers should detail the procedure for employees to appeal salary increase decisions.

How and when is the salary pool determined each year?

A salary pool is proposed each year by the Parameters Subcommittee of the University Planning and Budgeting Committee (UPBC). The UPBC is an advisory committee chaired by the provost and charged with recommending a proposed operating budget to the chancellor. The salary pool is one component of the budget and is influenced by various factors, including the Commonwealth Appropriation, projected tuition revenue, and financial aid. The UPBC will recommend a proposed budget to the chancellor, including both the total salary pool and the allocation of the pool for maintenance, merit, market and equity. Following the chancellor’s approval of the operating budget (including the salary pool and allocation), the budget is approved by the Board of Trustees, typically in July.

What is the difference between maintenance and merit increases?

Maintenance increases are based on cost-of-living adjustments and tied to satisfactory/successful performances. All University staff employees who have maintained a satisfactory/successful performance over the past fiscal year may be eligible to receive a maintenance salary increase. Satisfactory/successful performances are defined as a staff employee who has fulfilled his or her individual responsibilities as part of his or her role at the University. Satisfactory/successful performance is established as a result from and based on the annual performance appraisal process. If you have not completed an annual performance appraisal, please contact your supervisor.

Merit increases are awarded based on an individual’s performance. If a staff employee has performed at or above expectations in the required responsibilities and roles on a recurring or one-time basis, they are eligible for a merit increase during that fiscal year. Merit increases are awarded in addition to a maintenance increase.

If I received satisfactory/successful or above/exceeds on my performance appraisal, can I expect to receive the full percentage increase available for both maintenance and merit?

Eligible employees who have met satisfactory/successful (or better) performance expectations will receive a maintenance increase. The same eligible employees also may be considered for a merit, market and/or equity increase. While, the salary pool allocates the funding for increases, it is at the discretion of each responsibility center to distribute increases based on employees’ performance or the need to make market or equity adjustments. Therefore, it is possible to receive the full percentage increase for both maintenance and merit, but it is not guaranteed.

What circumstances might affect a staff employee’s eligibility for an annual salary increase?

Annual salary increases are meant to reward staff for meritorious performance over the previous fiscal year from July 1 to June 30. Newly hired staff and staff currently in their provisional period are not eligible for an annual salary increase if their start date is after July 1 or if they have not successfully completed their provisional period by July 1. Those on a leave of absence beginning on or after July 1 can receive an annual salary increase upon return to active assignment. Staff who terminate from the University after Sept. 1 are eligible for a retroactive salary increase, however those who terminate between July 1 and Aug. 31 are not eligible.

What is a retroactive salary increase?

Retroactive pay refers to salary increases for eligible University employees for their performance in the fiscal year. Retroactive salary increases are based on the effective date of the annual salary increase (July 1), not the processed date.

Annual increases are processed in the September paycheck, retroactive to July 1. Exceptions include those individuals who are in a provisional period, on a performance improvement plan (PIP), on an unpaid leave of absence between July 1 and Sept. 14, and staff on an assignment of fewer than 12 months. After September, the remaining paychecks for that fiscal year will reflect only that pay period’s increase. More information on limited exceptions and retroactive pay guidelines are available in the Annual Salary Increase Guide.

How do staff members appeal a salary decision?

The Chancellor’s Ad Hoc Committee on Compensation Recommendations on Salary Increase Policy (Oct. 7, 1991) states that, “Procedures should be developed within each responsibility center through which individual staff members can appeal decisions related to aspects of their salaries.” Responsibility centers should notify staff of their respective unit’s procedural details when salary increase notifications are distributed. Staff who do not receive such notifications should contact their immediate supervisor.

Staff may dispute annual increases. Staff who wish to file a dispute should contact Employee & Labor Relations.